We Are Each Other’s Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacy

Amistad: HarperCollins. Apr. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9780062932563. $29.99. SOC SCI
Proving that Black people have always had a deep connection to the land, writer Baszile (Queen Sugar) elevates the voices of Black farmers and ongoing conversations surrounding food justice, land stewardship, and intergenerational wealth. Through powerful firsthand interviews with Black and Mexican farmers in the Carolinas, Virginia, Louisiana, California, and more, Baszile shows how, for many, farming means freedom. Baszile’s compelling narrative excels in telling how growing one’s own food has long been critical to Black people’s survival, from slavery to the present day. The author also details the increasing number of women farmers, and how Black women are navigating both racism and sexism. Interwoven are contributions from historian Michael W. Twitty and poet Kevin Young, among others. Perhaps the strongest parts of the book are contributions from historian Pete Daniel, on the difficulty of Black farmers to receive assistance from the USDA and the FSA, and author Clyde Ford, on the connection between land and wealth. As Ford writes, “Black landownership has always been an act of defiance and an affirmation of humanity.” Vivid photographs by Baszile are a highlight throughout.
VERDICT This noteworthy book, the first of its kind, brings an untold history to the forefront and succeeds in showing how land and legacy are interconnected.
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